Monday, December 17, 2007


Residents challenge HUD on housing demolitions
Plans call for 5,108 affordable homes to replenish stock

by Richard A. Webster
New Orleans City

Sam Jackson, 52, works 12 hours a day Monday through Friday for a cable company. On the weekends he works 30 more hours as a self-employed contractor. He has been married 34 years, raised five children, sent two to college and cares for his 21-year-old, mentally challenged twins.

Jackson lived in public housing for 37 years and is a resident of the B.W. Cooper Housing Development, one of three sites, including St. Bernard and C.J. Peete, slated for demolition last Saturday.

The Housing Conservation District Review Committee has temporarily suspended the demolition of Lafitte, which was also to take place last Saturday.

Jackson, who pays $370 in rent, said he is a hard worker scraping by to care for his family — unlike the negative perceptions people have of public housing residents. He said if the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development wants to demolish his apartment, it should provide a similar, low-cost unit. Otherwise, he, and thousands like him, will not be able to afford to live in New Orleans.

“I’m a poor working-class citizen. If I’m kicked out I’ll have to double or triple my rent,” Jackson said. “The city brought these people back so where are you gonna put them if you kick them out? You gonna put them through the stretcher again just because you want to demolish the projects? You might be talking about poor people but these are the people who helped run the city with minimum-wage jobs. Some of those people have two or three jobs despite the politicians saying it was nothin’ but thieves and ho’s and thugs all in here. But they never lived in the housing projects so how can you judge someone like that?”

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